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by Sue Donckels
My son has no idea what physical feats I accomplished to conceive him. Of course, my husband and I both “worked it” until the baby-making process lost all its charm. But during our second year of trying, my mind, body, and senses demoted physical love from its five-star passion rating to one of menial labor equivalent to fueling up my car. Luckily, the physical task smelled better than gasoline fumes most of the time. Near the end of our journey, my husband hardly broke a sweat. By that point he’d needed only 57 seconds to accomplish his manly breeding deed.
After a full year of repetitive and unproductive baby-making attempts, I tried a new upside-down routine, literally. I inverted my body so gravity would propel my husband’s sperm toward my eggs. The whole scene was like a surreal circus act. Once he’d finished his part in our ritual, I dove into a full handstand against a corner wall for several minutes. I felt like an oddly-fashioned clown, but I lacked the bright makeup, big red shoes, and rainbow-ruffled outfit. “Humble” understated my exposed pale skin and full naked stance.
During my post-ritual performances my husband enjoyed an occasion chat. He sipped iced tea and talked, his face aligned with my thighs and other central zones. But his eyes mainly gazed at my boobs’ undersides. Maybe they looked better that way. I looked up through the center of my bobbles, but our eyes didn’t connect. I had no choice but to ignore him. I had to make my baby.
My ears tuned his voice away to a distant mumble while my mind visualized swimming sperm, waiting eggs, and babies. I even pictured one of my high school biology movie’s cartoon-drawn sperm penetrating an egg. At the end of the movie, the characters smiled and a baby popped up, an unwrinkled, chubby-pink bundle, already clad in a plain white diaper!
Eventually, gravity caused a throbbing blood flood inside my forehead and eyes that became overbearing. The cartoon turned to hazy static, and I dropped down to wobble into the bathroom to freshen up.
I couldn’t rely on handstands alone. Other times, I’d propped my bottom up on the highest possible stack of soft, suede pillows until my chin met my chest; or, I’d hung face down off the back of the sofa; and, just once, I’d held my body in the bicycle position, on my back with my hands pushing my hips high into the air. That one held too much in my viewing space.
My acrobatics seemed in vain. My eggs must’ve been little cloaked prudes with wings, because it took a seriously ridiculous number of upside-down athletics before conception. It wasn’t that we were inept. We really understood the basic concept for making a baby; and we charted out the best days to work on the project together.
Of course, we weren’t exempt from ridicule. Everyone continued prodding, “When are you going to have a baby?”
My husband’s family, a large and fertile group with hundreds of kin, didn’t hold back. One brother-in-law made the comment, “Well, we know the fertility problem doesn’t stem from our dudes!” Then he laughed out loud like a chimp.
Eventually, my husband’s dimwitted sperm courted one of my less prudent eggs. A pregnancy test confirmed our success. In the end, I earned a bonus for my efforts! My athletic feats must’ve been my burden to bear because, to my great surprise, Mother Morning Sickness didn’t greet me.
My son has no idea what physical feats I accomplished to conceive him. Someday, I’ll have to share my story, just so he can be grossed out by the mere thought of it all.